Good riddance: 10 games we’re happy were canceled

Just because a videogame has been announced (and sometimes millions of dollars dumped into them), that’s no guarantee they’ll see the fluorescent lights of your favorite retailer.

Today, Capcom announced it had pulled the plug on Mega Man Universe. While fans of the Blue Bomber shed a tear, we’re sitting around the office shrugging indifferently. Based on what we had played, we weren’t sold on the idea anyhow: LittleBigPlanet meets Mega Man with silly graphics and sluggish controls? We’ll pass, thanks.

While we’re always saddened to hear that game cancelations and job cuts sometimes go hand-in-hand, there are definitely a few games that we’re happy to live without. Here are ten games that we’ll sleep well knowing we’ll never have to play. 

1. Fear and Respect (Xbox, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

The videogame industry trying to team up with Hollywood folks is nothing new. Case in point: in 2005, the now defunct Midway Games revealed Fear & Respect, a collaboration with director and writer John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood). It was to star (in both voice and appearance) rapper Snoop Dogg as Goldie, a younger gang member who would earn “fear” or “respect” on the street based on his actions. (Read: Shooting at things or helping old ladies across the street.)

Midway announced the project was canceled a little over a year later, but not before releasing a handful of screenshots and a trailer (seen above) that looked like sample animation the developers might have used to pitch the game.

We actully ended up dodging a few bullets with this one: Paramount Pictures announced it had acquired the film rights to the game not long after it was revealed. Think about it the implications of that: the production of the Fear and Respect film could have led to scheduling conflicts with Snoop’s work on 2006’s classic, Hood of Horror. Nick Chester

2. Frame City Killer (Xbox 360)

The trailer for Frame City Killer had some Xbox 360 fans foaming at the mouth when it was unveiled in 2005. But why exactly? It didn’t show any in-game footage, any hints of what the game would play like, and in all likelihood it would just have been a Grand Theft Auto version of Ninety-Nine Nights’ ONE MILLION TROOPS in a city. It was just fanboy ammo with no substance or impact.

When in-game screenshots hit shortly after, all it did was blind everyone with horrible textures. To make things worse, the already average-at-best True Crime: Streets of NY — released in 2005 on former generation hardware — looked like a better game than this.

And what the hell is a “Frame City” anyway? – Maurice Tan

3. This is Vegas (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

An open-world game set in Sin City developed by the team who made third-person action/horror game The Suffering and featuring a wet t-shirt contest mini-game? What could possibly go wrong. Well, everything, apparently.

Midway announced the Surreal-developed This is Vegas as an open world, lifestyle action experience, where players will live out their Vegas fantasies by fighting, gambling, driving and partying their way through the most decadent, fast-paced and wildest city in the world.”

What I played a few months later was a series of disconnected game events (including fighting, dancing, and the infamous wet t-shirt contest). Taken on there own, we guess there was something there… I just wasn’t sure if Surreal or Midway had any idea what they were going to do with all of it.

Unsurprisingly, the game’s release was pushed back multiple times, and went unreleased when Warner Bros. Interactive purchased a large chunk of Midway’s assets as the Chicago-based publisher crumbled. It’s our understanding that the game’s production was a mess from start to finish, with millions dumped into the thing to keep running as they scrambled to pull something together.

Do you know how many body shots I could buy and wet t-shirt contests I could attend with $59.99? The answer is 20 and four, respectively. No doubt, we’re all better off without This is Vegas. – Nick Chester

4. John and Kate Plus 8 (Wii)

Jon and Kate Plus 8 as a videogame? That assy reality television show turned game? Really, videogame world? What the hell were you supposed to do in this game? Procreate? Be ugly? Dodge TMZ’s cameras at the city park?

Well, wait. If this is a game about secretly hating your own children, that could be fantastic. I’d get down with that. You could play Jon, the dad. It would play out daily. Your goal would be to avoid any kind of parental obligation every day, dodging the wife, kids, bills and everything else important. I feel like so many American dads would love this game. They’d be great at it. – Dale North

5. Shenmue 3 (Dreamcast)

Look, I wanted more Shenmue at first. As a Sega kid I ate the first two games up. Worshiped them. Hell, I still have that blind love that makes me want to buy anything with those four blue letters on it. I signed the petitions, got the wall poster, cosplayed Ryo.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how stupid the Shenmue games were. Do we really need another game in the series? Do we really need to see how this silly story ends? No. We really don’t need another big budget town wandering game. Sega can keep their stretchy face textures and their Lucky Hit. Sega can keep their forklifts and Lan Di Chinese guys. Nozomi was a prude anyway.

The only good part of Shenmue was the Tomato Convenience store theme song. That shit was my jam. Sega should just make a game about the Tomato Convenience store. – Dale North

6. Project H.A.M.M.E.R. (Wii)

A mature Wii game where you swing a giant hammer around using motion controls. Have you checked your insurance fees lately? Yeah… what a great idea this was.

If you were ever planning on ‘accidentally’ punching your spouse, child or family member in the face, you might’ve be sad about Project H.A.M.M.E.R. being ‘indefinitely postponed.’ But if you really want to get that experience anyway, just imagine you’re Zangief and trash your living room while doing his signature Lariat move — you’d break just as much, and — based on what we played of it during E3 2006 — it would probably be much more interesting. – Maurice Tan

7. Gun Loco (Xbox 360)

Square Enix had a bunny-headed, crazy me-too shooter on the horizon, but from the way they talked about it, I don’t even think they liked it. It was just recently canceled, and I feel like they should be thanked/awarded for saving gamers from having to experience the visual nightmare that it was.

What an ugly piece of shit! I’m sorry! I’m just calling it like I see it. There’s… there’s nothing nice you can say about this game’s looks. I Googled some phrase like ‘Gun Loco looks like shit’ just to see what the forum comments looked like, to prove that I am not alone on this. Gamers said things like “It looked horrible” or “the game looked absolutely terrible” or “It looks kinda like The Club.” Ow. – Dale North

8. Harold Wake (Xbox 360)

Harold Wake wasn’t quite a full-blown sequel. This was going to be Remedy’s first spin-off series, branching off the highly successful Xbox 360 horror/thriller title Alan Wake. It just didn’t come together the way they had hoped, and toward the end of development it looked like it was going to be a highly offensive game that would have never succeeded. In the end, it had to be cut.

In the story, Harold Wake is the second cousin of Alan Wake. He’s an unemployed trucker, laid off because he couldn’t conquer his serious affliction. You see, Harold had a severe case of Tourette’s Syndrome. His uncontrollable blurts of things like “B-b-big Dicked Buffalo” found him friendless and lonely. He moved to the deep woods of Oregon to be alone, knowing that he couldn’t offend anyone in the deep forests. 

Harold became paranoid and started seeing things in these forests. He started abusing alcohol to tame these visions, but they only became worse. One foggy morning his toaster came to life and started shooting sliced bread at him. His vacuum cleaner began doing inappropriate things with its hose to his crotch. Scared, Harold ran into the forrest and got lost.

It was there in these forests that Harold find a cursed Bluetooth headset. When he put it to his ear to test it out he couldn’t remove it! But this headset gave him a strange power — it focused his cussing outbursts into a light beam attack that pushed back and eventually disintegrated these animated household objects.

Harold Wake’s gameplay had gamers wearing a headset while controlling Harold with a controller from a first-person view. Players would scream expletives into the microphone of the headset to attack. – Dale North

9. Swamp Thing (Sega Genesis)

It’s unclear if this was going to be based on the movies, the television series, or the comic source material, but it doesn’t really matter. Nuvision’s Swamp Thing game for the Genesis was to have our stinky hero cleaning up the swamp buy knocking out badies while taking various shapes like an apple or leaves.

No thank you.

Also, it looked like that. – Nick Chester

10. Sadness (Wii)

Despite the developer Nibris (or someone with a Yahoo! email address claiming to be) insiting it was a real game, we don’t actually believe Sadness ever existed. Revealed for the Wii back when the console was codenamed “Revolution,” the game became somewhat mythical over the years as details about the title were slowly dripped out via message boards and videogame blogs.

If Sadness was a project that a developer was indeed working on, they managed to be more secretitive than Valve with its assets. Over the years we saw a small handful of concept art, heard some music… but we never, ever saw the actual game in action (although someone apparently conned IGN into running a live action trailer for it at one point).

What we did know about the “game” sounded incredibly ambitious. But it also was probably the result of an Internet-wide collaborative writing circle, where random folks just kept adding concepts to an idea that existed only in name.

I’m glad this project will never see the light of day, because selling people a $49.99 DVD with concept art on it would be criminal. – Nick Chester


Dtoid Staff